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A quick visual tour of the revamped Server Manager and other great new features in Windows Server 2012
The new Windows Server
Windows server management gets a new look in Windows Server 2012, with a revamped Server Manager and even a Metro GUI borrowed from Windows 8 -- but only if you want to use it. With WS2012, Server Manager becomes a multiserver management tool, and it's loaded with wizards to make all sorts of tasks dramatically easier.
Server Manager Dashboard
The new and improved Server Manager in Windows Server 2012 is where most admins will spend the bulk of their time, with new administration tools including server role selection.
Server Manager has also had a graphical overhaul, now providing a cleaner view of even more local server data.
A useful new feature in Server Manager is the ability to manage multiple servers in groups. You can configure groups in any arrangement that makes logical sense to you, including things like subnet, department or geographic location.
Best Practices Analyzer
Another cool new feature in Server Manager is the ability to regularly scan each server for configuration errors that might impact performance or compliance, and immediately provide a link to the appropriate best practice knowledgebase article to correct the problem.
Managing Server Core
The GUI-less Server Core role allows administrators to activate certain portions of the Windows Server 2012 GUI using PowerShell 3.0, such as the Server Manager module.
Another GUI start option is the new Metro interface. Server admins can use Metro tiles to pin direct links to oft-used applications or managed resources to their start screens.
Hyper-V Live Migration
Hyper-V Live Migration has been enhanced in Windows Server 2012. You’ve got options on whether to move VMs or simply VM data, and you can perform live migrations of virtual machines from one server to another both inside and outside a clustered environment.
Hyper-V Replica is a new feature in Windows Server 2012 that makes asynchronous replication of virtual machines as easy as stepping through a wizard.
To make configuring replicas easier, the Choosing Recovery History process (the number of recovery points to save) has been simplified.
Part of the new Hyper-V Replica is a much easier method for designating replication targets and connection methods even across a WAN. The options include exporting the initial copy of the VM to an external drive for transfer, so you don’t have to push it over the network.
Storage Spaces is a new feature that adds storage virtualization capabilities to Windows Server 2012. This can be done either as a storage pool, which groups a number of physical disks or as Storage Spaces, which groups a series of virtual disks with desired management attributes.
Dynamic Access Control
With Dynamic Access Control (DAC) in Windows Server 2012, you can apply data governance across your file servers to control and audit who has access to which information. Admins can enforce access rules based on file contents or metadata, and leverage Windows Rights Management permissions to control printing, saving, and sending.